In a recent opinion item in the Charleston Post and Courier, North Charleston city councilman Ron Brinson urged South Carolina authorities to support much-needed upgrades to Interstate 26, the main route connecting the Charleston area to the rest of the state and nation.
Brinson rightly points out that I-26 is already over capacity and in generally poor condition, and that situation will only get worse as the Port of Charleston grows and more trucks take to the highway. “Congestion and outdated designs engender unsafe conditions. Accident rates are generally high, and there’s a well-documented disproportionate fatality rate, especially in the Orangeburg to Summerville segment,” he writes.
Motorists who frequently travel I-26 between Charleston and Columbia are aware of the road’s inadequacies, and Brinson suggests that conditions will deteriorate as traffic increases — unless the state gets serious about upgrading its infrastructure. With the potential for a doubling of truck traffic related to the port within 10-12 years, sufficient modernization of I-26 would cost at least $1 billion and take about a decade, according to Brinson.